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Two weeks after Christmas, the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals arrives like a gift from Santa Claus. In the Oklahoma metropolis of Tulsa, "Santa" is Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards, organizers of the four-night race meet since its 1987 inception.
The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals...
Initially sponsored by the Chili Bowl food company of Bob Berryhill, these Nationals are known simply as The Chili Bowl: racing's winter answer to football's Super Bowl.
It accommodates over two hundred race rigs, bleachers for thousands of people and an ever-growing trade show. To stroll the aisles of Tulsa's River Spirit Expo Center, the home of The Golden Driller, is to rub shoulders with champions from across America.
The presence of Sprint talent such as five-time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell is what elevates Midget competition to a level unmatched.
The Chili Bowl's key ingredient is the clay which once covered the adjacent fairgrounds. Without sun or wind to harm it, the indoor garden (roughly a quarter-mile circle) is heavily saturated so that the boldest dirt track artists of our time can truly shine. The benchmark came in 1994 when the Jones brothers, P.J. and Page, went three-abreast for the lead with eventual winner Andy Hillenburg, a hometown hero from Broken Arrow who commands the loudest fan reaction.
It is this action which fills every corner for 55 laps that keeps people coming back. When more than 15,000 spectators walk out the door on the fifth and final night, they are so amazed at what they have seen that they cannot wait to return.
What: 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl presented by General Tire
Where: Tulsa Expo Raceway – quarter - mile clay oval inside the River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa's Expo Square
When: January 13-18, 2020
Monday, January 13 – Cummins, Inc. Qualifying Night
Tuesday, January 14 – Warren CAT Qualifying Night plus 11th annual VIROC
Wednesday, January 15 – Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night
Thursday, January 16 – John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night
Friday, January 17 – Vacuworx Global Qualifying Night
Saturday, January 18 – Lucas Oil Championship Feature Events